Turn Around

The following is an excerpt from Steve Felder’s sermon, The Countdown. You can view the full sermon by clicking here: https://vimeo.com/244706945

Jesus came to change your heart; he came to reunite you to your Father; he came to invite you into an episode of Long Lost Family.  But if you come to Jesus with a list of wants before you let him change your heart, you’ll be no better off than the people who were washed away by the flood of Genesis 7, or those who lived under the heel of Gentile conquerors in Christ’s day.

John the Baptist came into this world to prepare us to meet and embrace our Savior. But to prepare us to meet Jesus, we needed to repent; we needed to turn around; we needed to own their sins so we could bring them to Jesus and be forgiven. Here is how Gabriel explained John’s ministry to Zachariah, his father.

“He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

John was born to prepare people to meet Jesus. He came with a powerful message that said you will never find your Savior if you keep walking away from him. You have to turn around. You have to repent. You have to change your mind about your sins. You have to own them and bring them to Jesus so he can forgive them and give you a new life. 

And if you’re already a Christian, the same is true for you: you can’t walk with God when you’re walking away from him. Judgement and repentance starts with us! So, lay down what ever broken toy your clinging to, and let Jesus give you the kind of life that you really want.

But whether you’re far from God or have placed your faith in Christ, John’s message is clear: God remembers his promises! But if we want to enjoy the grace of God, it starts with us turning our hearts around — it starts with our repentance.

So, who do you need to forgive? What darling sin do you need to lay down? Your anger will not produce the righteousness of God; it’s time to lay it down. Your significant other can’t save you; it’s time to let them just be your significant other and not your God. God didn’t say seek first your political party; he said seek first the kingdom of God!  Where you need to turn around and embrace your King? Jesus came to change your heart, and if you will let him do that, you can leave your fingerprints on this world for Christ.